I did mention that twenty dollar bill, right?

Dear Miss Snark,

Lets say one's agent, bless her heart, has sold the manuscript.
One is so pleased.

Lets say one wants to send a thank you.

Flowers? Candy? Subscription to the New Yorker? Hand knitted scarf? Matryoska dolls? Lavender soap?

What is customary?

I have received a red feather boa, flowers, choccies, CDs, books, and a lifesize photo of Mr. Clooney. Much as I adore getting presents (and really..a red feather boa was EXACTLY what I needed!) you only need to send a nice hand written thank you.

This is our job. We're almost as glad to sell something as you are to have it sold.


ORION said...

I sent my agent chocolates, a piece of art, a stuffed animal for her child and a HEARTFELT handwritten note.
Always say thank you.
That is what my mother taught me.

Anonymous said...

15% of the writer's income is plenty of thanks. Do you send gifts to the plumber for fixing the sink? Or to the electrician for doing his job? Be real. The agent should be sending gifts to the writer. Not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous - does the agent send a thank you note to the author when they've turned in a book?

Seems only fair. After all the writer has just done her job.

Ilya said...

I think the relationship is more of a partnership than works for hire.

The question is completely legitimate.

Monetary compensation is one thing having good relationship with somebody who works with you worth far more than any money.

People will try to work harder if they know that you applicate their efforts.

Anonymous said...

For something special like a first sale a modest size bunch of flowers is a nice way of saying "Thank you, I'm looking forward to working with you on many future projects."

You may be willing to take a bullet for the agent, but keep the thank you on a cordial and professional level. I get uncomfortable when people get too gushy over me just doing my job. It's a professional symbiosis, not the discovery of a long lost twin.

Candy & food items are not good since many have food allergies or diet probs. If anyone sent clothing I'd wonder if they were stalking me.

If your agent has pollen allergies, she can always pass the flowers to someone else. I have never seen anyone turn down a nice bunch of posies, though!

Anonymous said...

Just a comment to anonymous #1 and #2. I'm a property manager, and, yes, tenants do sometimes thank us with something extra. We recently got a gift certificate from a grateful tenant for a routine fix in her apartment. Our maintenance supervisor got a batch of cookies recently, as well.

We, in turn, do sometimes give things to our contractors, including our fabulous plumber, who's done some incredible work under difficult circumstances. I'm not challenging the comments related to publishing, but don't draw parallels to the world of contractor services and property care; we appreciate thoughtful tenants, and the last thing any of us want to hear from a tenant is a condescending demand that "it's your job" to do something.

Eileen said...

No, I don't give the plumber a gift- but I also don't call him to talk about the state of my sink and my fears that it will NEVER unclog and expect him/her to care. My plumber doesn't brainstorm with me, explain the details of the plumbing industry etc. My agent (the divine Rachel Vater) earns way more than her 15% in what she saves me in therapy alone. I send flowers and a sincere thank you.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I'm pretty certain that in some circles a red feather boa is essential to life-fulfillment and maybe income.

Jeaniene Frost said...

I sent my agent flowers when she sold my book. She later remarked in her blog how nice she thought that was. Why wouldn't you send a token of your appreciation, if you appreciate the job they did? Yes, this is a professional relationship, but a small gesture of thanks goes a long way.

River Falls said...

Does your agent SEND gifts in those kinds of situations? I know that my agent does, because on at least two different occasions while were were talking about a particularly lovely thing someone had done for her/me/us, she would say, "I'm going to send her some flowers." So when she landed me a "signifcant deal," I called my editor's assistant, got the number of a trusted florist (what do I know about shopping in New York?), and sent my agent flowers. She loved them.

Anonymous said...

But what gift do you send your *male* agent?

Anonymous said...

Yes, any suggestions on male agents?

Anonymous said...

It depends on your relationship with your agent. On the occasion of my first novel sale I sent my agent some lovely handmade truffles from our local chocolate shop. They went over very well.

Don't forget to thank in the book said...

Send a hand written note and don't forget to write a thank you in the book itself! That is the acknowledgments say a thank you! I believe Miss Snark says she loves that.

Steve said...

Yes, any suggestions on male agents?

A blue feather boa?

Anonymous said...

The chocolates went to a male agent, btw.